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Assembling Japan

Modernity, Technology and Global Culture

Griseldis Kirsch, Dolores P. Martinez and Merry White

Assembling Japan focuses on Japan’s modernization as a long-term process that is reliant on changing technology and that has led to the nation’s full engagement with the global system. This process forms a complex field of tensions, full of interesting dynamisms and synergies that can be best understood through the book’s methodology: anthropological analysis combined with historical contextualization.
The approaches in this collection are manifold. Some chapters examine the themes of modernity, technology and Japan’s global experience though popular culture, from reggae to football, from television to film. Other topics include coffee, travel, economics, cultural politics and technological innovation in the field of robotics. All of the contributions aim to show how these global interactions have occurred and continue to take place in twenty-first-century Japan.
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Relocating Japan? Japan, China and the West in Japanese Television Dramas


The Asia Boom during the 1990s

Japan ‘re-discovered’ its Asian neighbours when the world order collapsed at the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.1 After a long era of looking towards the West, which occasionally had culminated in admiration (Hijiya-Kirschnereit 1988; Creighton 1995, 1997), other Asian countries suddenly gained importance for Japan. What previously had been only an economic relationship evolved into a virtual Asia boom in the cultural sphere. Concurrently, more Asian immigrants entered Japan,2 so that Asia became more visible and Japan’s ‘myth’ of a homogenous society began to be challenged even more than ever (Weiner 1997).

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